We believe that engaging people in the importance of their mental health and wellbeing is critical to their recoveryMany of our clients have experienced traumatic issues in their lives and that is why our trauma-informed approach is a cornerstone of our growing mental health servicesThis Mental Health Awareness Week, we celebrate the first anniversary of East London Mental Health Services (ELMS) joining us. 

Single Homeless Project has psychologists and therapists based in-house at many of our services and we encourage our clients to take charge of their own mental health as part of their recovery. We use Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) to frame the way we provide support. 

This focus on mental health informed our decision to merge with ELMSThe organisation, which offers vital mental health support to people in Waltham Forest, spent its first year with us under the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic. But this hasn’t stopped the team carrying out their critical work. 

ELMS is comprised of three separate services:  

  • Supported accommodation made up of five houses in Waltham Forest which can house up to 17 people living with complex mental health issues 
  • A daytime project and lunch club, where attendees can take part in different activities like sewing, bowls and art projects  
  • counselling service offering face-to-face and telephone sessions  

Mick Finan, ELMS Manager, is impressed at how his team managed the changes they had to make to be in line with lockdown restrictions, noting that the importance of their work meant they had to find a way to keep going.  

“We had to manage a lot at once which I worried about. However, it’s been surprisingly smooth and we’ve focused on continuing support for those who need it. Unfortunately, our lunch club and indoor face-to-face meetings have been really limited since the pandemic began. We have moved to more outdoor activities now so people can meet safely. We know that these are a lifeline to those that come along. Attendees have a chance to socialise and learn new skills which helps them beat feelings of isolation. 

The counselling service has had to move to telephone and sessions only. But, importantly, they carried on happening throughout the pandemic. When people are really struggling with their mental health, a voice at the end of the phone can make a huge difference. 

“Despite the challenges of meeting lockdown restrictions, I’m proud of how well we’ve adapted to being part of a much bigger organisation and continuing to offer our service to residents of Waltham Forest. Face to face meetings had to become online meetings but they continued to happen over the last year and that consistency is very important.  

“I am really looking forward to all our services opening back up properly again. Mental wellbeing is at the centre of everything we do and after the challenges of lockdown, this is more important than ever before.”